Welcome to Manchester Confidential
Reset Password
The Confidential websites will be undergoing routine updates. This may cause the sites to go offline. We apologise in advance for any inconvenience.

You are here: Manchester ConfidentialFood & DrinkBars.

Martini: Elixir of Quietitude

Thea Euryphaessa's imagination runs amok while sipping Bond's favourite tipple in various swanky cocktail bars

Written by . Published on October 30th 2008.


Martini: Elixir of Quietitude

Iconic. Ubiquitous.

Get this drink wrong and you may as well shut up shop. If you can’t get a martini right there really is little point bothering with any other cocktail.

Pedants may wish to look away now: the martini is a gin-based cocktail. Not vodka. A martini made with vodka is a vodka martini or a vodkatini. So if you’ve been seduced solely by images of slinky sirens and dapper dandies parading across the silver screen martini in hand, you may wish to consider an alternative. A brooding, substantial alcoholic beverage, a dry martini is gin with a dash of dry vermouth (increase the amount of vermouth for a wet martini), served straight-up and garnished with olives or a twist (of lemon peel).

A drink of such classic standing demands an ongoing review across the city. For my initial foray I drew inspiration from a quote by E B White, editor of William Strunk Jr’s The Elements of Style, who elegantly described the martini as an ‘elixir of quietitude’. I sought venues that may provide a quantum of solace should Mr Bond ever wish to savour the classic version of his preferred tipple in Manchester.

First to The Modern. Staring up at Urbis an action sequence played out across my imagination. James and I are quietly enjoying a drink together on the sixth floor when he spots the enemy on the ground below. As they close in, we escape by scrambling up onto the roof, free running along the slope before finally leaping onto a train at nearby Victoria Station. Well it seemed feasible enough as I sipped my crisp, approachably smooth martini prepared with Plymouth gin, Noilly Prat and two olives. This martini was Sean Connery as Bond: polished and debonair. (£8.)

Actually, I originally imagined James and I sipping drinks overlooking the concourse in an elegant cocktail lounge reflective of the surroundings in the architectural jewel of Victoria Station. This is a building crying out for a bar of similar persuasion to Campbell’s Apartment in Grand Central Terminal, New York. But seeing as The Modern is the nearest cocktail bar to Victoria, you take what you can get.

But it was this thought that led me to my next venue: the Oyster Bar in Great John Street Hotel. An intimate, sumptuous bar evocative of old-school glamour. With another bar and a hot tub located up on the roof terrace, Bond would most definitely approve. Off the beaten track but well worth the schlep, this is one of Manchester’s best kept secrets.

On Fridays and Saturdays they also serve fresh oysters from Argyll. I couldn’t help myself and washed down three (£4.65 excluding VAT) with a martini prepared with Hendricks and garnished with a slice of cucumber. Connoisseurs may feel Hendricks gin discordant in a martini, but the slice of cucumber highlighted the floral notes of the gin and together with the lemon accompanying the salty oysters, it made for an unusual but refreshing combination. This martini was Daniel Craig as Bond: an intriguing choice quickly winning you over. (£7.50 excluding VAT.)

Downstairs in the Champagne Bar at Abode, a mellow sophisticated space, I eased into a sofa before an amiable waiter took my order for a dry martini with a twist. Moments later he returned with my drink explaining the distillation process behind the Effen vodka. Eh? I hadn’t ordered a vodka martini but went along with it out of curiosity. Still, I believe a waiter/bartender should always ask a customer’s preference. On receiving the bill I was further surprised to discover I’d been charged a supplement for the unrequested upgrade to a premium vodka. I complained and was refunded the difference, but these gaffs made my martini less James and more Brooke Bond (standard martini: £7.50, upgraded: £9.50 + 12% service charge).My final call for now was the interior design-challenged Piccadilly Lounge at the architectural yawn-fest, City Inn; but don’t judge a book by its cover – this bar provides consistently good service and produces well-made, value for money cocktails closest to Piccadilly Station. Asking all the right questions I was presented with a powerful martini with big minty, herbaceous notes courtesy of Bombay Sapphire gin. Another martini with Daniel Craig as Bond: this time with pouting lips and rippling abs. (£6.)

If only.

The breakdown:

Venue: The Modern Bar & Restaurant, Floors 5 & 6, Urbis, M4 3BG. T: 0161 605 8282Cocktail: Dry Martini: (Flavour 5/5, Presentation 5/5, Flair 5/5, Ambience 4.5/5) Total 19.5/20

Venue: Oyster Bar, Great John Street Hotel, Great John Street, M3 4FD. T: 0161 831 3211Cocktail: Dry Martini: (Flavour 4/5, Presentation 4.5/5, Flair 4.5/5, Ambience 5/5) Total 18/20

Venue: Champagne Bar, Abode Manchester, 107 Piccadilly, M1 2DB. T: 0161 200 5678 Cocktail: Dry Vodka Martini: (Flavour 3/5, Presentation 5/5, Flair 2.5/5, Ambience 4/5) Total 14.5/20

Venue: Piccadilly Lounge, City Inn, 1 Auburn Street, 1 Piccadilly Place, M1 3DG. T: 0161 228 0088Cocktail: Dry Martini: (Flavour 4.5/5, Presentation 5/5, Flair 5/5, Ambience 3/5) Total 17.5/20

Like what you see? Enter your email to sign up for our newsletters which are chock-a-block with more great reviews, news, deals and savings.

49 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Gary FOctober 30th 2008.

Now i have a problem. At home i have Hendricks, Tanqeuray and Bombay. Which one should i start with. Could be a long night.

rosieOctober 30th 2008.

whilst dancing to wham?

mark mOctober 30th 2008.

My cut and paste memory is very good thank you!!!

mark mOctober 30th 2008.

soft boy

AvoOctober 30th 2008.

It was only VX!! They have it on their rail at Obsidian. Not as if it was 21yr or anything!

mark mOctober 30th 2008.

If you got the original absinthe it would not take many to be climbing the walls. bet it packs a punch

AnonymousOctober 30th 2008.

I could do with one of these right now!

emma graceOctober 30th 2008.

My friend at Mojo was giving me shots of Appletons topped with jager the other night...I've never experienced anything so vile or lethal in my life

emma graceOctober 30th 2008.

I want to try one of those, he had something Lillet in it if I remember the film right?? What's the recipe?

emma graceOctober 30th 2008.

Mojo make cracking gin martini's...Plymouth gin with a big twist. Absolutely perfect. If the venue doesn't have Plymouth, Tanqueray works well too.

scoteeeOctober 30th 2008.

soweeeeee...x

AvoOctober 30th 2008.

Club Tropicana drinks are free...

rosieOctober 30th 2008.

also,Tom gives the best ever hugs to drunken freeloaders

scoteeeOctober 30th 2008.

Now thats what i call re-cycling Ms G,never tried it myself,although I hear it warm and salty!?

rosieOctober 30th 2008.

I don't drink martinis,so can Thea find me a bar(other than socio)where the bartenders know how to make a planters punch.Please.

AvoOctober 30th 2008.

Well I was drinking Pina Coladas last weekend...

emma graceOctober 30th 2008.

Yes...but there's no Gin in my cupboards so there's no point

AnonymousOctober 30th 2008.

The problem with Manchester's martinis is that you cant find a proper dirty martini anywhere. Or a filthy one for that matter. To find a bartender that could consistently come up with the goods would mean a friend for life!

rosieOctober 30th 2008.

I'm so dissappointed in you Avo.You can't put coke in Appleton you philistine.

Rebecca TytheringtonOctober 30th 2008.

Tom might rock, but Socio has become a filthy little hole. And I don't pay £s to enjoy cocktails in a bar that can't even clean its toilets or provide loo paper.

JayOctober 30th 2008.

Rosie, try The Modern. They only seem to do the classics. At least I asked for a long dirty screw and they wouldn't give me one.

AvoOctober 30th 2008.

mark m piss off! You just beat me to it. Its called a Vespa Martini.

emma graceOctober 30th 2008.

oh honestly.....

AvoOctober 30th 2008.

Thea, I think you should try sampling Green Vespas and see how long you last before you drop. Absinthe in a Martini?!?!? Sounds great!

GordoOctober 30th 2008.

Have you lot not got a home to go to?

The ModernOctober 30th 2008.

If we win this three times in a row do we get to take Thea home and keep her, world cup-stylee?

emma graceOctober 30th 2008.

Yes I agree, it's awful. Tastes really chemical-ly and just full of crap!

mark mOctober 30th 2008.

That'll be the Vesper Martini. mmmmmSince many of the original ingredients from 1953 are no longer available or have been reformulated, several variations are available that attempt to recapture the original flavour of the drink: * The original recipe called for Kina Lillet, which is no longer available. Lillet Blanc (also known as Lillet Blonde) is the usual replacement. * Dry Vermouth (e.g. Cinzano Extra Dry) may be used as an expedient in the place of Lillet Blanc if it is unavailable. * To recreate the original bitter flavour of Kina Lillet, add a dash or two of Angostura bitters or a pinch (1/16 of a teaspoon) of Quinine powder. * For a more traditional flavour, use 100-proof Stolichnaya Vodka to bring the alcohol content of the Vodka back to 1953 levels (it was also one of James Bond's favorite brands). * Likewise, Tanqueray Gin provides the traditional flavour of 94-proof gin; whereas Gordon's Gin was reformulated to less than 80-proof. * Some esoteric Bond fans may prefer to substitute Boodles British Gin, as it is named for Boodle's gentlemen's club, of which Ian Fleming was a member. * A cocktail glass, which is larger today than was common in 1953, is often substituted for the deep Champagne goblet. * A "Green Vesper" substitutes absinthe for the Kina Lillet. Lime peel may be substituted for lemon.

mark mOctober 30th 2008.

Avo, as ever with my recommends for cocktails, Big Tom at Socio does a mean dirty skunk of a filthy martini. Tom rocks at all cocktails, particularly the classics

rosieOctober 30th 2008.

Pour the bombay down the sink.

AvoOctober 30th 2008.

I like a GnT with so much lime squeezed in it that it goes cloudy. Sheer bliss.

Jonathan Schofield - editorOctober 30th 2008.

Yes, sorry about Central Perk. The writer got there at about 5pm and it had already closed. Must have sold out or something. Will get something up next week.

AvoOctober 30th 2008.

You used to be able to get a filthy slut of a Martini at Obsidian with a truckload of brine but those days are gone. Not sure where you couldgo now.

emma graceOctober 30th 2008.

See the Gordons puts me right off...but impressive memory you've got there Mark...

scoteeeOctober 30th 2008.

Mark M ...A Lillet in a Martini? eurghhh!

mark mOctober 30th 2008.

Bombay sapphire is the work of the devil. Cheap gin with an expensive marketing habit

mark mOctober 30th 2008.

"A dry martini," [Bond] said. "One. In a deep champagne goblet.""Oui, monsieur.""Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it's ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?""Certainly, monsieur." The barman seemed pleased with the idea."Gosh, that's certainly a drink," said Leiter.Bond laughed. "When I'm...er...concentrating," he explained, "I never have more than one drink before dinner. But I do like that one to be large and very strong and very cold and very well-made. I hate small portions of anything, particularly when they taste bad. This drink's my own invention. I'm going to patent it when I can think of a good name.

emma graceOctober 30th 2008.

Oh and Beefeater...that makes a good Martini too. Much smoother than the other two. Oh I can't wait to finish work so I can go and get a Martini!

scoteeeOctober 30th 2008.

Mines a bottle of water please!

AvoOctober 30th 2008.

I'm serious. I shunned them tonight when I was out too. Just stuck to a couple of rum and cokes in Obsidian and then a few gin and tonics with dinner.

rosieOctober 30th 2008.

You'll be drinking blue wkd next.Just because it's there.

emma graceOctober 30th 2008.

And I'll have a glass of tap water please. In fact, forget that, I'll just nip to the loo and fill this bottle up

mikeOctober 30th 2008.

iam the bar tender for michael caines at abode mamchester due to us beaing tied to up sell products i ****ed up i invite anyone to come down to try my Hendricks martini with 'Lillet Blanc' and a cucumber twist.

scoteeeOctober 30th 2008.

Gordo,one of you guys were putting up a review on central perk manchester today has it materialised?

PedroOctober 30th 2008.

Lillet appears to be the only surviving Vermouth (made by the manufacturers of Kina Lillet), as mentioned above, and is more like Cinzano Bianco, much too sweet for a Dry Martini Cocktail. Use Noilly Prat or Martini or Cinzano (Extra Dry) to taste. In suspect bars with inexperienced staff, ask for a Dry Martini COCKTAIL or you may be give a glass of Dry Vermouth! This happened to me in the bar of a well known 5* hotel in Manchester where I was also told later that they had run out of olives!! 5* my a**e!Anyone obsessing on this drink will find a wonderful book entitled "The Martini" (An illustrated History of the American Classic) by Barnaby Conrad 111 will answer all their questions on its history and myths

mikeOctober 30th 2008.

also to comment on the bombay thing i find it to be a very comfused gin duwe to it having to many botaincals. my fave for a martini is martin millers a great gin. or tank ten with a grapefruit twist.

AvoOctober 30th 2008.

You wouldn't have any drink left...

rosieOctober 30th 2008.

mark m smells of poo

emma graceOctober 30th 2008.

It has an incredible detoxifying effect...you should try it. lol

To post this comment, you need to login.Please complete your login information.
OR CREATE AN ACCOUNT HERE..
Or you can login using Facebook.

Latest Rants

Anonymous

No Gretch, Cllr Gillard is Withington ward, part of which is famous for student house parties.…

 Read more
Anonymous

Sure those "skanks" would say Port Street beer house was populated by bearded identikit Chorlton…

 Read more
Anonymous

Yep the world would be so much better if it was inhabited only by the middle class hey Gareth. No…

 Read more
Anonymous

Well, as long as they go to those places and nowhere else, I'm ok with it.

 Read more

Explore The Site

© Mark Garner t/a Confidential Direct 2017

Privacy | Careers | Website by: Planet Code | SEO by The eWord